Holiday Photos

Better late than never. Every year the girls and I meet uncle BK at a certain location for the holiday pictures. This year we chose La Jolla for the backdrop. We decided to have the girls do a take on the “trash the dress” theme. If you haven’t heard of “trash the dress” before, basically it’s a photoshoot where the bride wears her wedding dress for a second time; but this time it ends with the dress being creatively ruined, whether it’s while jumping into a pool or being saturated in wine. I always loved the idea. The idea in my head however was much more grand than what actually played. Mostly because the water was ice cold and even the girls didn’t want to get wet. I need to remember to take Christmas pictures in the summertime.

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Kaili ended up knocked over by a wave which was amazing.

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Once the sun set a little lower and the weather got chillier we wrapped it up. After a quick change into dry clothes, a seaside dinner awaited. The pictures turned out beautiful as they do each year.

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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.

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.

 

 

 

Where Do the Days Go?

Is it really the middle of February? What the hell? I am turning another year older next week that probably explains why I can’t remember what we have done the past few weeks.

Aside from a couple of kids birthday parties and making hummus, my new weekly hobby, life has been mundane. I did, however make it to a USMNT friendly match. They played lousy but we still had fun time, with great seats on the field.

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I have been trying to take the girls to the park on Wednesdays, we have been exploring outside of our neighborhood park. Finding ourselves mostly at parks near the water when the weather is beautiful.

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Averi really wanted to hand feed the pigeon a chip, I almost thought she would succeed but   the bird chickened out.img_1137-1

The past few recipes I have made have been duds, I need to make something good enough to post. Luckily next Saturday Brian Malarkey will be cooking us dinner as we try out his new restaurant. What else should we do with a free night downtown?

Long Time No See

It’s been forever since I blogged huh? I just don’t seem to have the time now that Kaili is out of school, or should I say my free time at night is spent watching trashy reality shows? I mean, how good is Bachelor in Paradise? And it just started.

Last I left off Averi had turned two years old. She had her doctor visit and she is perfect, a little small in the weight department but this girl eats so I am not concerned. We’ve been through this with Kaili already, it’s so much easier on the mind the second time around. About four days after that doctor visit Averi came down with a fever that lasted three days followed by a rash. Turns out she had Roseola and I am sure she caught it at the office.

I had been having a hell of time with her at night. She would cry and cry for hours before finally giving in and going to sleep. I was all set to move Kaili out of the room and go big, letting her cry it out without going in there at all, per her Pediatrician’s advice. But after her bout with that nasty virus, she went back to her old self and no more crying at night. Who knows what that was about, hopefully we are good now, because I was about to lose my mind.

We’ve been busy spending time at my parents house in OC. The girls have been swimming, to the petting zoo, playing at the parks and splashgrounds.

Our good friends came out for a visit from Arizona and of course the first stop was breakfast at World Famous on the beach.

Averi doesn’t dig the beach, just like Kaili wasn’t fond of it. Luckily Kristi and I got a chance to head to the beach sans kids and it was magical. We  laid in the sun and played in the water without any worries.

We also had our sitter come and watch the girls while we spent the day in Ramona wine tasting! The girls had fun, we had fun, everyone wins.

Kaili has another month until Kinder starts and soon after that we head to Rio. I will try to be better about writing but I promise I will be blogging the Paralympics and our trip to Brazil!

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4th of July at the Lake

We hit the road up to Lake Arrowhead, this time meeting Shane’s folks there. Coming from Walla Walla, they had a much longer drive than we did but Averi cried almost the entire 2 hours so I call it even.

IMG_5576After getting familiar with our new abode we walked down to the village for some lunch. The food there isn’t much to talk about, not bad, not great. We poked around for little bit and then headed to the store for dinner.

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Saturday morning we packed up as much as we could carry and walked down to the beach club. The Lake is private and the only way to access it is to either rent a place within the area, have friends there or live there. Since this was our first time going into the lake we weren’t fully equipped. Next time we will be ready.IMG_5536

One of the neighbors told us about a little spot, a street away that everyone gathers at to watch the fireworks. It was perfect. Kaili got to stay up late to watch them and   the hardest part was waiting until 9:00 pm. I wish I could say she slept in the next morning but I can’t. The sleeping arrangements were Kaili and Averi in one room. It worked well the last time we were there but this time Ave’s decided she was going to start her day at 5:30. I rushed in there every morning to fetch her before she woke up her sister, didn’t help much.

Sunday morning we took a boat ride around the lake.  The guide gave us facts and history about the lake and the famous people whom live there. Some of the houses are drool worthy and Tom Selleck’s house is the only one with a lake garage for the boat.

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After our lake tour and some lunch, Shane and I got away for a little wine tasting. It is 21 and over so we missed out last time. It’s amazing how nice even one hour alone can be.

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We took the kids back to the house because I had an important date with the US Womens National Team. If you missed the first half of the World Cup, I am sorry. Wow what a game!

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There were some lazy afternoons, a lot of walks, ice cream cones galore and sometimes even Averi seemed to have fun.

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We really enjoy getting away, I am getting pretty good at the VRBO thing. Next time will be even better.

Getaway

I am realizing that adding a second kid has taken time away from my blogging, so I apologize that posts are further apart but rest assured I will catch up.

Monday, the girls and I drove up to Ventura to stay the week with Shane. He gave up his handy (ahem cheaper) hotel for the week and moved us into the Embassy Suites Mandalay beach resort. It’s right on the beach in Oxnard. With a big pool and a couple of hot tubs, we were sure to be entertained. Our room had a perfect ocean view and with a big patio that I sat out on every day.

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The drive was great, Averi slept and Kaili was a perfect angel but by the end of the first day I was second guessing the trip. I was exhausted and I had a baby to tend to. Averi woke up at 3:am that next morning and didn’t go back to sleep until minutes before Shane had to leave for work. Kaili popped up not a moment later so the four of us rolled down to breakfast at an ungodly time and I wanted to cry in my coffee. But 7 cups of caffeine later and a swim in the pool, I felt much better. Averi was being a perfect baby, napping when I needed her to { AKA at the pool} and Kaili was so much fun to be with.

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I started to fall into a rhythm and was able to fully enjoy myself. Kaili and I went swimming every morning after breakfast while Averi napped in the stroller. We hit the beach after lunch and then the pool again for Averi’s afternoon nap.

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When Shane got back we would head out to dinner. Sadly we didn’t have much luck in the choices we made, the food was nothing special and the service subpar. Fed up with our meals I put a little more research into our last dinner.  I came across a restaurant in the Ventura harbor that had sparkling reviews, and it didn’t disappoint.

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We splurged on a nice bottle of wine for our anniversary and enjoyed it over looking the harbor.

For our drive home we put Kaili’s carseat in Shane’s car so we could both take advantage of the carpool lane. We started south on PCH stopping in Santa Monica for a twirl on the Ferris Wheel and lunch.

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Next year we will do it all over again and I can’t wait.