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.

Road Trippin {nor cal style}

One Monday morning we packed up the car and headed north. We zoomed through LA aiming for lunch in Pismo Beach but apparently we weren’t the only ones with that idea. Downtown Pismo was insane, especially for a Monday during a pandemic but I guess everyone was ready for a break. Not wanting to wait, we kept driving making our first stop in Morro Bay.



We checked into a little motel and went looking for a decent meal. I made a deal with myself to get a cup of clam chowder at each coastal town we stopped in so I could be the sole judge of what town gave me the best one. A little known fact about me, chances are if I order clam chowder, there will be a glass of Chardonnay along with it. Like give a Pig a Pancake but with soup and wine. Anyhow, after hemming and hawing over menus we ended up at the Dutchman’s Seafood House. It was fine, the clam chowder was the best thing we ordered.


After our sole meal of the day we wandered around and weirdly enough stumbled into a tasting room. Chateau Margene is parked on the main strip of Morro Bay, you can’t miss it and they had really delicious wines, pricey but good. The guy pouring was family of the winemaker, knowledgable and made the experience nice. They also had ports which had us swooning after each sip. The sleepy town slowed down with the sun so we padded back to the room to divulge in our dessert wine and chocolate.


On the drive up we found out the new tasting procedure for wineries, and it really takes the fun spontaneity out the of wine tasting experience but alas, we are all alive to talk about it so….I made reservations for tasting at three different Paso Robles wineries.

We started at Eberle. We had a table on the patio with views of sprawling vineyards, the wine was good but we didn’t leave with anything. The highlight was the standard poodle we met as we were leaving, I may have suggested smuggling it into the car.


Next stop was Pear Valley Winery.


This was a nice time and the wine was pretty good. They had some sweet muscats that we just can’t find much of near us.

After a really rushed lunch and a pretty bad sandwich, we barely made our reservation at Brochelle. This was a quaint tasting room with some decent wines and a good Syrah. The girl pouring was very personable and it was fun chatting with her. Satisfied and happy we decided to head back to the coast for another round of clam chowder when we found ourselves at one more winery. Luckily a quick call from the car, Windward winery has a spot to seat us for one last tasting.


Windward specialized in Pinot Noir’s and I am no fan of Pinot Noir’s, however either my palate is changing or we just had some really good ones. We did a vertical tasting of PN’s and they were all good, surprisingly.



Finally back on the road, we drove through Cambria and stopped at Moonstone Beach for dinner.IMG_4613

We had a really good meal and their clam chowder was so delicious.


We decided to end the evening in San Simeon. By the time we checked in it was time to crawl into bed and veg to the murder channel, sweet dreams.

Our next day would be a long car day taking us all the way to Sonoma.



The Constant

You know what parenting two kids is? It’s constant…non-stop, sometimes wonderful, other times not so wonderful constancy. It’s a perpetual motion tending to both of them on my own and I have two easy (so far) kids. The hardest part is when they tag team me at 5:00 in the morning. Kaili has been waking up super early and it only seems to happen when Shane isn’t home.

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Averi is almost 6 weeks old and is different day to day. She eats about every 2-4 hours during the day, at night its anybody’s guess. I try to be consistent putting her down around 8:30-9:00. Some nights she wakes up 3 hours later, and others  she will go a nice long stretch waiting until 2:00 or 3:00am. The latter is happening more often and it’s dreamy.

When she’s awake, she wants to be snuggled. A little tummy time here, a little swing time there but then its into my arms. Put here in the stroller or the car and she passes out like a frat boy after a kegger and she will stay asleep.

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Since she is an easy traveler we have been getting out a lot on the weekends, car shows, festivals, wine tasting and lunches.

San Diego Bay *photo courtesy of Brian Kerr


Considering Averi should have only been here 18 days ago, It’s been nice to be able to enjoy summer a little longer than I had expected. Soon it will fade away and Fall will be peeking around the corner.


The First Week Home in Photos

It’s been almost 2 weeks since I had Averi and almost 1 week since she’s been home. I have to say things are going quite well. Shane has been home  the past month but set off yesterday to get some work done in the office. Having my in-laws here has been invaluable. Kaili is being happily entertained, it has allowed me to ease into everything and  Shane and I get some time away together.

Averi is as sweet as can be. She eats about every 3 hours and then sleeps with some awake time spread out during the day. I get up twice at night to feed her which isn’t too bad if I can get back to sleep in a reasonable amount of time. Having help here, I have the luxury to sleep an extra hour while someone gets up with Kaili, if needed. This will come to an end in a few weeks, so I am taking advantage of every second.

Kaili is so happy to have Averi home. She has taken this new chapter like a champ and is already a great helper.




Our first outing as a family was to Bali Hai for lunch. This bowl of Gazpacho was so good and the Mai Tai a tad too strong.

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Girls just wanna have fun.


While the grandparents took Kaili to SeaWorld, Shane and I and a couple of friends took Averi to Ramona for some wine tasting. We leisurely made our way to 3 wineries, munched on too much cheese and enjoyed the much needed break from home.

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Slowly getting back into the kitchen.

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Hot tubbin’ with Grandpa G.

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It sure is going to be fun watching these two grow up together.

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Would You Like Some Wine With Your Pumpkins?

Friday,we hit Bates Nut Farm in Valley Center. I was wrong to think it wouldn’t be overly crowded on a Friday, wrong I tell ya. We started with the petting zoo, Kaili was slow to warm up to the animals but I ended up having to bribe her out of there with a pony ride.

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She had no fear on her first equine, she quite enjoyed herself. Grandma and Grandpa, we would like a pony for Christmas.

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After grabbing a pumpkin, taking the obligatory pumpkin patch photos we hit the road. We had some wine to taste.


We brought our growlers to refill at Triple B winery. Sat, sipped, and nibbled away while Kaili enjoyed the great outdoors.

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We found our stomachs rumbling and our palates teased so we headed on over to another winery for more sips and some damn good pizza.

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San Diego Wine Tasting and all That Jazz

School, wine tasting, harvest, baking, Seahawks, dogs, cats, pumpkins and not in that order.


Good things in the making
Good things in the making

Humane Society
Humane Society

Uncle Bri's house
Uncle Bri’s house

Wine tasting
Wine tasting

Picking grapes like a good wino
Picking grapes like a good wino

Chuparosa winery
Chuparosa winery


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Charming the wine maker
Charming the wine maker

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Great people, great wine, great dogs
Great people, great wine, great dogs

Worn out palate, watch out for snakes
Worn out palate, watch out for snakes


all done
all done

Got to drink these before my doctor knocks me up.
Successful day in Ramona

Go Hawks!
Go Hawks!

Ramona Wine Tasting

After a fun filled weekend with good friends, good wine and good food it’s back to reality. We headed out to Ramona for some local wine tasting, 6 wineries, some really good wine, some not so much and all with a toddler. She loved all the horses, the open space and the last winery had a very friendly dog named Pooya.

collecting corks at Chuparosa vineyards.
collecting corks at Chuparosa vineyards

Hard to keep shoes on this gal
Hard to keep shoes on this gal

Wide open spaces
Wide open spaces. Chuparosa’s tasting room is outside. Best wines of the day!

Spunky young guy
Spunky young guy

Grand opening of Hacienda De Las Rosas
Grand opening of Hacienda De Las Rosas

HIghland Hills Winery
HIghland Hills Winery


Knock knock. Kohill Winery
Knock knock. Kohill Winery

Pooya the friendliest dog in town
Pooya the friendliest dog in town

Wine straight from the barrel and it was so good. Our 2nd favorite winery of the day.
Wine straight from the barrel and it was so good. Our 2nd favorite winery of the day.

Best shot of the day thanks to Kristi Kowalski.Kiah and Kaili
Kiah and Kaili
             Best shot of the day courtesy of Kristi Kowalski

Animals Make the Wine Taste Good

Thank goodness for Winery animals. These critters allow us to have a great time wine tasting because Kaili is happily occupied.

Isn’t it strange that glasses = studious instead of broken eyes?

brushing up on oenology

Kaili became  fast  friends with the Minassian Young winery cat. She was a sweet little thing.

nice kitty

Kaili chased this thing around the tasting room for a good 30 minutes but then the inevitable happened….the cat turned on her, biting her on the arm. Kaili was devastated. Not so much that it hurt but I think she felt betrayed by her feline friend. It was actually really sad to witness.

bad kitty

The day was full of different wineries, all sorts of animals…even fish.

Kaili was superb all day. She didn’t get an afternoon nap and she started to spiral down around 4:00 pm. Against our better judgement {even though Shane made it clear he didn’t think it was a good idea} we went out to dinner.  Il Cortilie is a highly recommended Italian restaurant and we just had to eat there. The food = AMAZING! Unfortunately it was hard to enjoy because of cranky pants. She was overly tired and wasn’t having it any longer. But I must say my crostini with caramelized fennel and fresh burrata was to DIE for!

Obligatory Pumpkin Patch Photos

Saturday we headed out to Bates Nut Farm to do the pumpkin patch thing. Kaili wore her Seahawks cheerleader costume and actually kept her hair in pigtails for me.

I took her into the petting zoo. When I was a little older than Kaili, my parents took me to a petting zoo where I was attacked my a goat for the food I was holding, luckily I survived. Kaili almost had a similar experience when she nearly got head butted by a greedy goat. Fun was had by all.

Kaili roamed around the pumpkin patch and got a kick out the pumpkins that were twice her size. We let her pick out one pumpkin and then we hit the road. We had wine tasting to do.

Kaili has become a pro in the toddler -wine -taster- side kick role. She loves meeting new people and checking out new places, which is good because we are heading to Paso Robles for a wine-vacation next week.We hit up Vineyards winery where we sat on the patio, sipped wine and listened to music. Then we went to Vesper winery where we sat on the patio and sipped wine. Do you see a pattern here?

Vesper Winery

entertaining herself

I guess next up is carving the pumpkins, that is why we got one right? Oh and the pumpkin seeds, I think that is my favorite part.