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.
To celebrate the February birthday’s in our family we all went to Little Italy for dinner. Although the food wasn’t anything to rave about, the company was well worth it. The best part of Italian food is that we know we can order the girls pizza and skip the dramatics. You guys, they are getting older, when does their pickiness go away?
Later that night Kaili started to deteriorate and ended up with a bad cold. It has now hit the entire house, besides me; takes a bow while simultaneously knocks on wood.
A week or so later we headed to Vegas. While we were waiting to check in, we saw Jesus, probably.
We hit the arts district where we had an incredible lunch at Esthers Kitchen.
So good in fact, that we went back once more before we left.
Once my brother flew in, we hit the town. Music, food, dancing and all the fun that we have there.
The next day we decided to hit up Frankie’s Tiki’s Lounge before heading to the strip.
We were almost committed to riding on the high roller, but then beer pong caught our eye.
On the way back to the hotel, we saw the most amazing rainbow.
With that we headed to a casino to test our luck. Some of us were luckier than others. We met some nice folks, crazy characters and spent the rest of the night singing and dancing.
Sadly summer has come to an end. We absorbed all of it. Long days, beach days, and pool days. Hot days at the fair, little getaways out of town and whining, lots and lots of whining but so much LOVE! There were swim lessons and World cup filled days, wine tasting, birthday parties and MLS games.
Where do the days go? One day it’s Easter and now I am rushing around to get everything for the almost six year olds birthday party.
Speaking of Easter, we had a pretty low key day. Early Saturday morning Kaili woke up sick. There is nothing like slipping in vomit with bare feet after you’ve taken half of a sleep tab, seriously the best! (keep that in mind my young friends.) She woke up with a fever and zero energy, unfortunately she missed her best friends birthday party that day. She seemed to pep up towards the end of the day and we were hoping she would be good for Easter.
The girls woke to their baskets delivered to our door step by the bunny, thank you for the one who gave me that idea. Kaili seemed a lot better, they tore through the baskets, ate breakfast and then set out on hot pursuit for hidden goodies in the backyard.
The girls were invited to an Easter party by a school friend, once we decided Kaili was up for it we headed out.
From here you’ll just have to take my word for it because I tucked my phone away for the entire party. The family was very nice, they had waaaayyy too much food, but they also had alcohol so…. We helped hide over hundreds of eggs for the hunt, which was over in minutes. All the girls had so much fun and there was a tad of resistance when we told them we had to go.
For dinner I made a fancy shrimp scampi that was a lot more work than I normally do and although the shrimp were plumper being poached, the taste was pretty much the same. Maybe I will share the recipe some time. I do have a brilliant whole fish recipe for you, courtesy of Chrissy Tiegen! Coming soon.
Thai and Coconut, probably two of my favorite things but when you mix them together with some spice, its pure harmony. Most of the time we have a bag of Kirkland raw, peeled, tail on shrimp in our freezer. No fuss and cooks up in minutes, perfect for a weeknight meal. If you can prep everything, cut all the veg and make the sauce…. or as the French say, “mise en place” then this dish comes together in no time.
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails on or off, your preference)
4 tablespoons coconut oil, divided (you can use vegetable oil)
2 gloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
½ onion, peeled and sliced
½ red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
½ orange bell pepper, seeded and sliced
½ yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 cup coconut milk
3-5 tablespoons high quality fish sauce (start with 3 tablespoons and add more to taste)
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
2 tablespoons basil, chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
Serrano pepper sliced for the heat lovers
Place the shrimp in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of the oil, garlic, ginger, kosher salt and red chili flakes. Toss to coat and let marinade for 10 minutes to 30 minutes.
Heat a good sized skillet over medium high heat with 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and peppers and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer the peppers and onion to a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and cook the shrimp for 2 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2 minutes or until opaque, transfer shrimp to a plate.
In a medium bowl whisk the coconut milk, fish sauce, peanut butter, lime juice, brown sugar and stir well. Transfer the cooked onion and peppers to the skillet and pour the coconut milk mixture of the peppers. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp to the skillet with the basil and cilantro and toss to coat. Garnish with more cilantro and basil, chopped green onion and sliced Serrano. Serve over rice, noodles or riced cauliflower.
I have been talking to Kaili a lot about kindness and empathy. After showing her a few videos and having conversations she seems to really be absorbing the message. The other day she told me that a girl at school was crying in the bathroom. She asked the girl what was wrong and if she was okay, but the girl didn’t answer. I told her that was all she could do and a high five for being a caring friend.
I went to her class party yesterday and was able to observe since I was the only parent there..side eye parents. I browsed the kids work posted on the walls and watched the them finish their work and hand it in all while Kaili was still sitting, dilly dallying. I came to find that Kaili doesn’t have the best penmanship, isn’t the first one done with her work and isn’t the most mature girl in her class.
One little girl wrote that her favorite thing to do will be playing with her granddaughters. Can we say wise beyond age? All said and done, none of this matters. She will catch up on all of this! What does matter is kindness. Humor. Empathy, all the things that our world really needs.
Averi asked to go to bed a little early so I told Kaili she could stay up until A was settled. I put on Free Willy a movie she hasn’t seen, just to see what she thought. It was towards the end with an hour left but she got sucked in. This girl doesn’t watch movies…like ever…and it’s because she isn’t interested. After 10 minutes she climbed onto the couch with me, snuggled under the blanket and we discussed everything that happened. When it came to the end and Willy was released back into the ocean, she was tearing up. ” This makes me sad mom.” Empathy! At the end of the movie she was snuggled in my arms crying. I asked her why she was sad. This was a happy ending and the boy did a great thing, Willy now had his family and freedom. She said, wiping her tears…” I am sad that the boy lost his friend.”
This year for Kaili’s birthday we thought we would take the family to Disneyland, you know while Averi is still free. We booked through Costco and got a 3 day park hopper package. That included the hotel stay, park tickets with 2 early morning entrances, one character dining and a $40 gift card.
We left early on a Monday morning planning to meet grandma and grandpa at the Disneyland Pier hotel by 8:00 so we could be at the park when the gates opened.
I got a ton of great information from people on what and what not to do with our three days there. I had a tentative plan in mind and so we started the day out hitting Fantasyland getting most of those rides done in a couple of hours while the crowds were sparse.
For lunch we went to Downtown Disney and ate at Uva Cafe only because it was outside dining and the weather was perfect. That turned out to be my favorite meal of the trip.
After lunch we headed back into Disneyland and that is when the crowds started turn up. Averi met Goofy while Kaili was on a ride with Grandma.
Later in the afternoon we got a text from our hotel letting us know our rooms were ready. After a few more rides and a lot of walking we headed to check in.
The first day at the park was a success and the girls were amazing, and I don’t say that lightly.
After we unpacked our stuff we went to check out the pool and let the kids take a dip. The hotel had a waterslide and a kiddy pool that kept Kaili highly entertained.
For dinner I wanted to check out Trader Sams in the Disneyland hotel. Although it’s a cool tiki bar, it’s more for drinks than it is dinner. Our food was good but the service wasn’t superb. My Mai Thai however was delicious. After dinner we strolled through downtown disney in search of ice cream. As we ate the sun went down and we took that as a cue to go and put the kids down. They knocked out immediately and we weren’t far behind. We had to get ready to do it all over again bright and early in the morning.
We spent Memorial day weekend up in the mountains. We left Friday morning and arrived less than three hours later. We rented a place next-door to the village and a grocery store, the best location if you want to avoid the car. It was a 2 bedroom condo I found through VRBO. The girls shared a room and although I had to tweek the room a bit, it worked great. I pushed two twin beds together for Kaili and threw the pack n play in another corner for Averi. We had a bedroom next door and the living area just out front. Our balcony over looked a very cold pool and luke warm hot tub. I must confess I was worried about the girls sharing a room because A. Averi has been waking all times a night and cries until I come in and B. Kaili falls out of her bed and hollers, or gets up and comes into our room. Turns out, I over reacted because they both slept through the night both nights. Averi woke up the third morning at 5:30 but Kaili slept through her hollering. the only downside with room sharing is once one of them is up, you really can’t put them back down since there isn’t the option of “cry it out.” Doable but not desirable.
The weather less than desirable, the crowds scarce. We got there around lunch time and walked the village, scoping out the must-do’s. We had lunch at the very popular mexican place, Papagayos and although underwhelmed by the food, the atmosphere and people made up for it. They had a large out door patio that featured a bar and grill for margaritas and tacos that locals and tourists gather on warmer days, we will get to know this place well.
After our big lunch we decided to go back to the condo, put the kids down and enjoy a small dinner of wine and caprese. After a good nights sleep we would devour the town in the morning.
We started the day with breakfast at the Belgium Waffle Co. which was a recommendation from a local. After an indulgent meal we fed the ducks, walked the village and watched Kaili go on kiddie rides at their local “amusement park. Then we got in the car and hit up all the open houses and boy did we find some gems.
After house hunting and a little shopping, we ended back at the village on a patio semi shivering due to the cold weather as we sipped margartias. Sitting next to us was a group that were Arrowhead vacation owners. We got to chatting and luckily the weather lifted and the day unfolded nicely. We learned a little more about the place and which parts of the lake was the most desirable yada yada yada. The day ended a lot like the day before with a quick swim in the warm tub and a light dinner of caprese.
Sunday, I made breakfast at the condo and then we went back to some house hunting. We also made our way to a “festival” at the next town over and although it was a very sparse “festival” it lead us to the best pizza place. Another gem told to us by a local, this place will one day be featured on Food Network, I’m sure of it. We devoured an amazing pizza and some beers while Kaili ran around with a little friend she met. Everything about this place was awesome, my only regret was there weren’t more of us so we could have tried two types of pizza. Two thumbs up for Lou Eddies Pizza.
That afternoon we went back to the patio at the village but now that the sun was out it was packed. I lucked out and got a table but soon after Averi managed to dump my entire beer all over us. We paid the tab and went back to the condo for a replay of hot tub and dinner. We were all in bed early and ready to head home the next day.
Our drive home was fun. Halfway down the mountain Kaili said she had to go potty, we told her we were on our way but then she got quiet, too quiet. She got sick, so much sickness out of a tiny human being and I had nothing but clorox wipes. We were able to change her out of her clothes and I cleaned up as much as I could but the 2 hour drive was smelly.
We are heading back again in another month or so. Looking forward to checking out more of the surroundings and maybe partaking in some water activities. Hopefully the weather will be in our favor.
Our first night in town everyone was beyond exhausted. Averi quickly showed symptoms of a cold and spent the ENTIRE night sniffing and moaning…so tired.
The next morning, with two sick kids on our hands we knew we too were probably doomed to be hit with the sickness. However the sun was shining and it seemed like a fine day to go check out the new cabin the folks had just purchased in Tollgate, OR. We left Averi home to sleep with grandma and Shane, Gordon, Kaili and I hit the road. Just about 3/4 of the way there Kaili got sick, really sick, all over herself and her carseat…barf. We were in the middle of nowhere, literally. We had nothing, no water, no wipes, just a few tissues and luckily a change of clothes in her backpack. We were headed to a cabin that was basically closed up for the winter, meaning no running water. We did the best we could wiping it up and turned around and headed home. That was a long 30 minute drive.
After a bath, Kaili perked up and as the day went on Shane started to feel worse. I have been dosing myself with everything including naps to stay healthy. This is how our trip is starting and come to think of it, pretty much the way our trip here always starts…minus the throwing up.
Poor Averi is super congested but Kaili is already on the mend, hopefully this is a short lived cold and we can all survive before wine tasting and football commences.