2020

Resolutions, traditions and parties, all of those words are used to describe New Years Eve.  One day you’re staying up late sipping sparkling wine all night and then before you know it, you are waking up every morning with young kids. That’s when you accept the fact that none of the “fun” of NYE events are going to happen again, at least for years. But then something wonderful happens, you realize that nothing else matters aside from waking up every day with the ones you love. Even if that means going to parks every damn day of holiday break. Where the kids would rather fill up their socks with sand than play on the swings.

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After an afternoon at the park we had managed to sneak invitations into the mailbox. Casually asking one of the the girls to check the mail, it only took a half a second of screaming to let the house know all the girls had a letter.

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We thought it would be fun to include the girls in one of the NYE traditions. Get dolled up, sip bubbly (soda sheesh), and dance till midnight. They were so excited. Nothing was off limits, want to wear make-up? That’s fine, one night and one night only. Fancy shoes, perfume, soda and no bedtime. What more could they ask for?

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We dined on charcuterie and puff pastry with cheese and passion fruit. These girls sat down in front of the food like we have starved them all day. Before you knew it, shoes were being kicked off and the whining was starting. You guys it wasn’t even 7:00. And then it happened, they asked if they could put on their pajamas and we said, “only after some pictures, party poopers” the nerve.

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We all sat in pajamas and sang karaoke but the party wound down quick. Before you knew it all the girls ASKED to go to bed. Apparently the moral of the story is this…. if you want to have an adult NYE with the kids in bed, take them to the park that day, stuff them full of meat and cheese and tell them they can stay up all night. Voila!

Cheers to a new year!

 

Holiday Break

Christmas came a few days late, it had to wait for all of us to get back home. Once we were all back together, it was off to the races.

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Santa brought way to much this year, waayyy too much. I’d like to say it’s all put away by now, but I’d be lying.

Wearing her new Sombrero, Averi helped me make cinnamon rolls. I made a semi-home version using pre-made bread dough and then just whipped up some cream cheese frosting. They were amazing and the pan was empty by the end of the day.

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The week felt like 10 years, I swear you guys. We went to plenty of parks, we cooked, and we made this weird candy that Santa brought. There was sushi, donuts and waffles;  I am actually shocked the girls ate it, strange stuff.

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AND we also sang Karaoke, yes we have apologized to the neighbors.

My family came over for a nice family belated Christmas. We had a taco bar, the annual Sherry cake and played games. Sadly everyone chickened out on their time to be a singing star. Averi however has found her niche.

Averi also got what she asked for from Grandma and Grandpa, a horse. It’s getting a lot of use.

 

 

 

Cancun {Part 3}

This was our first Christmas away from our kids which is in part why we decided to get away. I couldn’t imagine just sitting in our living room without them. We woke up a tad gamey on Christmas morning, luckily we had a special in room mimosa breakfast ordered for 8:30. Then we planned our attack to hit up Isla Mujeres. We went back and forth with just hopping on a Catamaran right outside our hotel to cut out the trip off of  the resort grounds and down into town to catch the Ferry. Buuuut, we weren’t keen on being on someone else’s schedule and having them choose where we were going to have lunch. In the end we decided to just do it ourselves. We hopped in a cab and jumped on the ferry.

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Once we were off the ferry they had people renting golf carts. We quickly grabbed one and within minutes we were in ours heading south down the island. Only 7 km long, its an easy trip around the island. Our friend at the resort told us to go to The Joint, a bar that someone he knows, knows someone else that might work there. Or so that is how the story went. About ten minutes into our cruise we unexpectedly and surprisingly ran straight into….

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That was some luck. We parked and went up to this outdoor bar. There were a couple guys playing some Sublime and a local bar dog. Shawna ordered a mango margarita and I ordered the best espresso martini of the entire trip, you guys it was so good. So good in fact that I ordered another to go. It’s legal there, well I assume it was since the bartender put it in a to-go cup for me.

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Not a terrible view to sit with a bevi.

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Once back in our cart we continued around the island. It’s just beautiful.

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We stopped every so often to walk down the the water and then I was able to get some cell service so we stopped at a cemetery and I called my girls to wish them a merry Christmas.

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Once we made it around the island we parked near Playa Norte. This is where there were restaurants and the beaches had chairs to rent. We had a pretty good lunch on the beach and I was very confident that it was el fin of tequila for me on this trip.

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After lunch we walked up the beach until we reached some open beach chairs. We plopped down, set our alarm and here is the best part. Fell asleep.

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We woke to the alarm and headed back to the mainland with plans of playing pool volleyball. But once we were back we ended up skipping it and just sat in the jacuzzi chatting with people.

For dinner we got all fancied up and went for one last Italian meal. Their garlic cream soup was so incredible you could bathe in it. I will see if I can recreate now that we are home. They had a Christmas show that night, once that was over I was beat.

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We woke up on our last day to rain. Once we were all packed we went down to the cafe for breakfast. Our flight wasn’t until later that day so were able to spend a little more time with friends at the pool until it was time to say our goodbyes. The trip home was a piece of cake and we were back in our own bed by midnight. It was a really good trip, just long enough. If we decided to do another all inclusive I would focus more on going where the food and wine is a bit better. But It’s going to be hard to go back to a hotel that isn’t all inclusive, that is definitely the way to go.

Cancun {Part Two}

A couples massage was booked for the next morning and it was the best way to start the day. After the massage we had access to the hydro-pool and hot tubs. Since it was still raining on and off we chose the warm option.

 

After drying off in the sauna we made our way to get breakfast before the storm.

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This was the worst day in the way of rain. It would dump bucket loads and then stop and continue throughout the day. We took this opportunity to join in the sushi making class.

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The entertainment staff was in charge of all things fun. Classes, pool games, volleyball…you get the point. They were the best out of all the staff at the resort. This is what happens if you give them your phone.

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Alejandra and Dylan made our stay just that much better.

If you can believe it, this was my first time making sushi. I didn’t do to bad but I think I’ll stick to ordering it.

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Most of our time was spent in the pool, drinking, and playing. Some days we played water volleyball, some days we played music trivia and some days we just floated around. Sometimes there were even boats of fresh skewered fruit floating around as well. We also met a lot of nice people that became instant friends. I wish I had more pictures but our phones were always under a towel somewhere.

Then the weather took a turn, the humidity dropped and the sun came back out. It was just perfect.

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Another afternoon we took a cigar making class. To sum it up, I learned WAY more than I ever needed to know about cigars. After the class a few of us shared a cigar and then decided the pool was more important.

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Each night we went to dinner and the evening show. We ate at the French restaurant and the Italian restaurant twice. We had amazing dishes like duck confit,  rack of lamb and and a garlic cream soup. We also had some very underwhelming dishes like the escargot and basically every dessert item on any menu.
Next door was a sister resort that we had full access to but it wasn’t adults only.  Several people mentioned to us that we should head there for their Brazilian steakhouse, so we took an evening to try it out.  To sum it up, it was a waste of a dinner. Harsh? Maybe. The salad bar was a sad excuse, some of the meats were okay but most weren’t very good. The one thing that stuck out the most were all.the.kids. It’s funny we hadn’t been around any children for a handful of days and it was like a heightened sense of chaos at that restaurant. The next day we were talking to another couple and told them about our dinner and the first thing out of the women’s mouth was “aren’t kids there?” Ha, what were we thinking?

The shows were also not great, probably just local talent that they can find. If you are used to Vegas shows or cruise ship entertainment, you need to take these with a large grain of salt. The guest singing talent show however was the best. One of our friends went up and sang a Bon Jovi song. He started out a show that turned out to be a lot of fun.

We all ended up in the club and danced the night away.

To be continued.

Cancun {part one}

A couple of weeks back we left San Diego before the sun was even awake, viva Mexico. We headed to Cancun for an adult only Mexican holiday. It was a long day of travel but we had the best seat companion, Lily the dog.

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By the time we got our luggage, hopped into our ride and barreled through the traffic it was late into the evening. We chose to stay at Secrets Playa Mujeres, an adult only all-inclusive resort. North of the hotel zone where it’s more quiet. We were greeted with Champagne and shown to our room.

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Our room was nice, we had a soaking tub in the bathroom and the patio, a rain shower with all the amenities one would need. After we dropped off our stuff, we headed down to the first restaurant we saw for dinner. Sadly, we were not impressed with our dishes and had our fingers crossed that this wasn’t setting the bar for the rest of our meals. After dinner we went back to the room to unpack and shower. We decided dessert was a necessity. We put on pj’s, ordered room service and ate in bed while binging the Investigation Discovery channel. Pretty sure that channel stayed put all week, those stories are horrifying.

The next morning we ordered breakfast and ate it on our patio amongst the breathtaking views. We sat and wished the clouds away.

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The weather didn’t heed our wishes and the rain came on and off and ON for the next couple of days. Not that that hinders anyone, everyone was still doing their thing while we sat out in one of the many jacuzzi’s. When it did stop, we moseyed down to the beach to drink in the beautiful grounds.

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This was our first all inclusive experience. Since cash wasn’t needed (aside from tips for the staff) I was sort of hoping that they would have a set up like Great Wolf Lodge. A bracelet that has your room key and a credit card that you wear the entire time. Leaving you not having to worry about a lone room key. When I asked the concierge if I needed to carry the key everywhere, she replied, “you do if you want to get into your room.” Side eye. So no matter what, we were stuck with a key to carry around all day and night.

There were around 7 restaurants on the grounds. steakhouse, seafood, Asian, French, Italian a buffet/cafe, an upscale Mexican and coffeehouse. Plus 24 hour room service. The food was hit or miss. Some things were incredible and some were incredibly bad. Case in point…This shrimp dish was delish.

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This potato soup served during the same meal, was absolutely not delish. It tasted like raw potato water.

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Each night we ended up at the dance club which is a really strong word for what it actually was. Some nights were busy but most were quiet. They did have a couple of pool tables but the sticks weren’t taken care of so after the second day we gave up.

We had a really good meal at the seafood restaurant the following day. We ordered the whole fried fish, the octopus, the chocolate crepe cake and the apple crumble. I was excited to have all this with a cold Chardonnay but the wine was very underwhelming. They poured a basic brand from Chilé and honestly none of the varietals were good. But I guess that’s what happens when we are so spoiled with wine where we live.

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We ended the day on the patio in the tub with wine. We learned that if you want to order a bottle of something through room service they will charge you, but if you just order 4 glasses of wine, it’s included. Brilliant.

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To be continued.

Holiday Holiday

Somehow it’s already mid December, I have so much to catch you up on. Currently our Elf, Peppermint Sugarcookie is playing Twister with a few scantily clad and very limber Barbies.

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Every morning the girls give a full report on what trouble he got into the night before.

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Our neighborhood puts on a Holiday party each year. It’s the perfect time to meet the neighbors we never see and probably won’t see again until the next party. It’s also a great time for the girls to see Santa. Averi loves to get fancy for all occasions, she also loves to have her photo taken.

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Our Elementary school put on a Frozen movie night and of course the girls had.to.go. We saw Frozen 2 the day after it came out and that is all Averi can talk about. Frozen Fever. But the movie theater is different than the school auditorium. Drinks were spilled, bathroom needs were constant and the Avester decided she was “too tired” and stayed put even after the lights came on. Yep that’s my kid.

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The next day we spent swimming at uncle Casey’s new place. They decided to slum it for a bit and move to Coronado Island, sigh. The view is awful. And yes it looks cold, but the pool water was just fine….for the kids…and Casey.

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Since all three girls weren’t able to attend the holiday party, we went back to the mall for another visit with Santa and some quick shopping.

As luck would have it, when we went to walk the neighborhood Christmas lights, we ran into Santa again. What a tiring job he has. Luckily he will have cookies waiting for him as a reward, or treat? So many kids and cats, I can’t keep it straight.

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Averi’s teacher held a rehearsal for the Kinder Christmas show early so I could record it. The girls are heading up to WA with their dad this holiday and she’s missing the show. It was both super cute and painful at the same time. The first picture is when they just sat down in the auditorium, the video is 30 minutes later. Wrangling cats, that is another word for teaching Kindergarten.

 

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Chrissy’s Chicken Satay

I made this recipe on a whim. It was a what can I make that doesn’t require the grocery store recipe. Turns out I did have to run to the store for the pepper sauce ingredients, sigh…but this dish was totally worth dragging three children to the store. I definitely suggest you make all three recipes because all together it’s phenomenal. It has the makings of a really good salad. We have to talk about the peanut sauce real quick. I have made hundreds of different versions from using coconut milk, to heating all the ingredients. This one is the best I have ever made, and it’s so easy.

This paired well with a rosé and a soccer match. Kids optional

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Ingredients for Chicken Marinade

1 pound chicken boneless and skinless chicken thighs cut into good size pieces

8 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons brown sugar

4 teaspoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon ground turmeric

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

14 oz. canned coconut milk

Ingredients for the Peanut Sauce

½ cup creamy peanut butter

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

3 tablespoons Soy sauce

1½ tablespoons Sriracha

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

 

Ingredient for the Sweet Hot Pepper Sauce

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon distilled vinegar

1 Shallot finely chopped

1 Fresh Thai Chile, minced

Kosher Salt to taste

Directions:

Marinade the chicken: In a bowl, combine the coconut milk, garlic, cilantro, brown sugar, salt, turmeric, and ginger in a bowl. Add the chicken and cover, and marinate for at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours in the refrigerator. *Soak wood skewers for at least 30 minutes before grilling.

Make the peanut sauce: In a bowl (or I used my bullet blender so I didn’t have to mince garlic) combine the peanut butter, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, Sriracha, vinegar, and 1⁄4 cup water, thinning with additional water if you prefer a thinner sauce.

Make the sweet hot pepper sauce: In a bowl, combine the sugar, 1⁄2 cup water, the vinegar, cucumber, shallot, and chile. Season to taste with salt.

Heat grill to medium high heat.

Thread chicken onto the skewers and grill until cooked through. About 5-6 minutes for side.

Serve with the peanut sauce and hot pepper sauce. Make sure you eat all three together and then  be prepared swoon. SO GOOD!

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