Cooking, Travel and just Other Stuff

You have to understand. I come from a line of very crafty people. My sister paints, one niece can knit anything out of a ball of yarn...oh and she paints and wood carves and makes jewelery. The other niece designs things and then sews them and then my great niece...well we will just call her insanely crafty. They all have blogs where they show all of their wonderful things they do. So, that brings me here. I decided I wanted a blog too, but what to write about. I'm not insanely crafty, can't paint, don't wood carve, tried knitting-didn't work....hummm, what do I do? Well, I like to cook and travel and eat, so I thought maybe we can start there. My blog will be about recipes I've made, places I go and restaurants I eat at with a few other things thrown in along the way. I've also heard that writing is good for you brain, so I figure-as I'm getting older now-this could be a good thing. So anyway, if you find my rantings worth commenting over, I'd love to hear from you. If I post a recipe you like, please let me know, other wise you can keep your opinions to yourself. This, after all, is my blog to make myself feel better, to try and compete with my family, because I don't do anything crafty.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Morro Bay......Day 2

My daughter-in-law and I in the blue boat
So I really mean't to have all of the Morro Bay trip blogged already, but I keep getting sidetracked by life. If I'm lucky maybe I will be done by Christmas. Anyway, our second day in Morro Bay was a lot of fun also. Did something I have always wanted to do, but have been afraid to try. Drowning has never appealed to me and after my surgery (someday maybe I'll write a blog on it) I tend to be very cautious around water. But the urge to go kayaking won and I am so glad it did. We had the best time and being on the water in a kayak is amazing. 

The Morro Bay inlet is a wildlife sanctuary. Hundrds of birds, otters, seals and other critters call  this area home. It is so peaceful skimming across the water listening to the sounds around you. There are several places right down on the Embarcadero to rent kayaks from. All of them are about the same price. Really worth doing.
One of the locals
And yes it is safe enough for little ones. Gabby had a great time.

Gabby rode in the kayak with my son and Madisyn. She loved it. Gabby is two and I never felt like she was in any peril. The kayak has a special kid seat in it and with the kid life jacket she was quite safe.

Skimming across the water

We spent the afternoon at the little beach by the breakwater. The kids had a great time.The weather was beautiful as you can tell from the fact we had no jackets on. During the summer our coast in California can be really chilly, especially in the northern part of the state. So to have a day with no jacket is fabulous.
Madisyn and her shadow

The water is also not incredibly warm, but the kids didn't seem to mind. They found critters and let the waves chase them. Fun day.

Gabby spent part of dinner trying to stick a spoon on her nose. She does keep us entertained. Tonight we ate at Dorn's. It has been there as long as we have been going to Morro Bay and the food is quite good. So go if you get the chance.
 It's to bad we didn't have anything beautiful to look at during dinner. Doesn't get any better. An evening with family enjoying the beauty of God's creation. Life is Good.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It has been really busy....

I have not blogged anything in a long time. You see I have had the blessing of traveling this summer. We have been on some amazing trips and I have been so busy I haven't even had time to sit down and share some of my adventures with you. So today with a few down moments I will share with you the first trip of our summer. I hope you enjoy.

In June we drove to Morro Bay, CA. It is about a six hour drive from our house. We use to spend a few days there every summer when our son was young, but we have not been back in about fifteen years. I have missed it. For those of you that have never seen the California coast, you have been deprived. We have had the fortune of traveling around the world and I still believe California has the most beautiful coast. The most wonderful thing about our trip to Morro Bay was discovering it hadn't changed it those fifteen years we were gone.

We left for Morro Bay in the afternoon on July 4th. We had to wait for my granddaughter who was in a 4th of July parade in her first official roll as Tiny Miss Strawberry Queen.

 Sorry I digressed, but she was to cute not to put in here.

She did great. Waved to all the people and through kisses. It was so hot and she hung in there all the way to the end of the parade.

The drive down was uneventful, thank goodness. We have to drive down through the central valley to get there and that can be pretty hot during the summer. Once you leave the Valley and head over the coastal mountain range the temperature goes from 105 to 65. It's fabulous.

We got to Morro Bay in time for dinner and ate at a place called Flying Dutchman which has been there as long as I can remember.

The seagull also wanted to eat so Grampa showed Gabby how to feed them under the glass wall. She thought that was great fun.

Jackson looking out at the birds. He still had his flag he was waving at the parade.
Looking out into the harbor. The locals love to poise.
 This is what Morro Bay is most known for. This is Morro Rock. It is an amazing mountain of rock that is a bird sanctuary. You can see it from all over town and as you can see the sunsets are incredible.

 In the center of the Embarcadero area is a giant checkerboard. You can rent big chess pieces or checkers to play on it but that is quite expensive. One day when we went past there were two man playing on this giant board with regular size pieces. It was pretty funny but they were having a good time.


Jackson and Gabby thought it was a great place to play red light/green light.

They would run around the board and high five as they went past.
Julie(DIL), Logan(son), husband and our young friend from Oklahoma, Madisyn. It was a great night of relaxing family time. Life is good.

End of Day 1....more later.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I can still sew!

So last summer I decided I wanted to make a dress. I have always liked the Mandarin style dresses and I decided I wanted to make one for a trip we were taking. I had found the perfect piece of material, problem was I guess I'm the only one who likes a Mandarin style dress because I couldn't find a pattern for one. My niece, Sherie, was looking online for me and she found a Mandarin style blouse pattern from 2004, so I ordered that and figured I could add more length to it. So what I did was combine two patterns. I used the Simplicity pattern from 2004 for the Mandarin top part and then I used the Anna Maria "Socialite Dress" pattern for the bottom part. I am delighted to say it worked perfect. Obviously though, it was harder to make then I thought it was going to be, because it took me a whole year to finish it. Oh well, it came in perfect for this years trip to Colorado Springs. It was good to know I can still sew, but I'm way to slow to make any great strides in a new wardrobe.
I think I did OK

The Money Man and I at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs.

Friday, July 22, 2011

For All My Disney Loving Friends

For three weeks this summer one of our young'uns from Oklahoma came to stay with us for three weeks. She has done this for the last three years. We always take a day and go to San Francisco and I am always looking for some place new to take her. Last year just as she was leaving I learned about the Walt Disney Family Museum that had just opened. So I tucked that in the memory bank to take her this year.

If you want to know everything about the life of Walt Disney from his birth to his death then you will love this museum. Madisyn and I both thought it was fabulous. Let me say, I don't think it is for small children. There is really nothing here that would appeal to small type people. I would say maybe thirteen would be a good age to do it. Madisyn is sixteen and she thought it was great. It took us about two hours to do the museum and 30 minutes for the gift shop. There are a lot of videos of Walt himself talking and a few inter-active things. The elevator to go up to the main floor makes you feel like you're on the inside of a train. There is a model of what the park looked like when it opened and one of the first Autopia cars. I have to say that the last exhibit brought a tear to my eye as it is about his death. He was an amazing creative man that was way ahead of his time and died to young. Hopefully his legacy of magic will continue to be carried forward for many generations.
This is Madisyn standing in front of the museum. 
I didn't know we were not suppose to take pictures in this area. We took two before they got us.
The museum is located on the Presidio. The address is 104 Montgomery St., but I'm going to give you this tip. If you put 104 Montgomery in your GPS it will take you down to Montgomery and Market St. Because you can't put zip codes in the GPS, that is the Montgomery St. it recognizes. If you put 122 Riley your GPS it will take you right there. Parking is easy. Right in front of the museum and not real costly. The cost for the museum is 20.00 for adults and down depending on age. They are open everyday except Tuesday. If you need more information the phone number is (415) 345-6800. Have a magical time. We did!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer finally made it to California!!

Well, nothing has really been going on to exciting in my world right now. Sometimes that is good. Just the usual dailiness of life. Since summer has finally made it here, yesterday was a day spent in the yard, re-landscaping.

Three years ago when we when we had our pool built and the yard landscaped, 150 plants and palm trees were put in the yard. Now statically speaking, they say for every 10 plants planted two or three will die. Well, that didn't happened. Everything has lived and flourished. This is a good thing and a bad thing. Last year I had to pull out the fountain grass which I found out I was very allergic to. Fountain grass has barbs on the grass blades that slice your arms in such a way you don't know you have been cut until the welts start coming. It looked like I had been beat with a whip and it made me feel not so good. Won't ever have that in a yard again.

So, when the landscaper put in the bushes he put in about 12 lavender plants. Unless you have an acre and you want half of it to be taken over by lavender, don't plant it. So yesterday I started pulling up the lavender. Normally I would have left this to the Money Man to do, but we have found out he is allergic to the lavender. Makes his sinuses go nuts. So it was left to me. I ended up pulling up eight of the bushes. I found flowers underneath them that are now breathing a sigh of relief. The lavender had encroached on everything. I was able to get some of them in the green garbage before they came yesterday. This is the left over pile I need to work on in the next couple of days.
I replanted some day lilies that the voles ate last year. Yes voles! Nasty little critters that think that day lilies are tasty treats. Thanks to a lovely man named Wallace we no longer have voles. I have a treaty with critters and creepy crawly things-you stay out of my house and yard and you get to live. It works for me. But I've deviated.

Anyway, I think the yard looks much better now. Not so overgrown. I think I am going to add a couple more plants up on the top of the hill where I took out the lavender, but I think it looks good for now. After all that it was time to sit in the pool, which I did. Happy Summer Everyone!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Adventures in Paradise......Day 5, last day.

Yes, I am way behind but I did want to do our last day on Kaua'i. It was sad to have to leave because it was such a relaxing trip, but that whole earning money thing gets in the way sometimes. One of the great things about staying at Pali Ke Kua was that we had our own access to Hideaways Beach. You can get to Hideaways from a public access but our side of the beach was only accessible by our private pathway or by swimming around a point. There are no private beaches in Kaua'i, but this was about as private as you can get. We had the beach all to ourselves.
Well almost to ourselves. Remember those chickens that are all over Kaua'i? Well we had our very own beach chicken. She was all by herself. Not another chicken in sight and she shared our lunch. She loved strawberries.
The day we went there was a storm rolling in. The waves and surf were unbelievable. It was almost scary the waves were pounding so hard. Brent was going to try to do some snorkeling but the rip currents were way to strong. Snorkeling is really the best on the south shore of the island, but if it's calm Hideaways is a good place.

We relaxed for a while, had lunch and then headed off for our next adventure.

We drove over to Kilauea Lighthouse. It is a beautiful lighthouse that sits on an incredible part of the coast. I was so counting on getting a picture of the lighthouse and was so disappointed when we got there and the lighthouse was covered up because they were painting it. You have to pay to get out to the lighthouse point as it is a state park. Pay the money and go out. It is worth it just to see the view off the point. It is like standing at the end of the world. You can feel the power of the waves around you.

Someday soon I want to go back and get a picture of the lighthouse. Oh, and did I say that you drive past Tropical Dreams ice cream to get there? Guess where we stopped on our way back?

For our last night we decided to go out to a really nice place to eat. We hadn't eaten dinner out yet so we wanted to go someplace really nice. The book recommended Duke's at the Kaua'i Marriott and we have some friends that had said it was good, so that's where we decided to go. Definitely a must if you want to have dinner out. Dinner was fabulous and the view.....well just look.
 It over looks Nawili'wili Harbor and we sat and watched the paddle surfers as we were having dinner. It a beautiful restaurant, great service and dinner was amazing.

As the sun set on our beautiful trip we brought home many wonderful memories and very relaxed spirits. Can't wait to go back. There is truly no place like it on earth.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Adventures in Paradise....Day 4

So I really was going to have all of our trip blogged by now but life has gotten in the way of blogging. So here I am on day 4 with one more day to go. Today was another amazing day full of some of the most breathtaking sights we had both ever seen. Even the Money Man said the cost was worth it, so you know it was really good.

Today we went with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters on an incredible one hour trip around the island. I had never been on a helicopter before. It was so much fun! I loved it. Would do that again in a heartbeat. But then you throw in the scenery we saw, it was awesome. Literally. To see the beauty and majesty of the creation of God. At times I found myself holding my breath. Usually, it rains on Kauai and sometimes the ride and where you go is affected by the weather. Today was amazingly clear. The highlight of the trip, besides seeing the beauty of the Na Pali Coast was getting to go inside Mt. Wai' ali' ali Crater. It was so clear we could see for forever. The pictures can only do a small justice of the beauty we saw.
This was our helicopter.

This is Jurassic Park waterfall

 The picture below was such a stunning sight. I don't know if you can tell in the picture, but it is four waterfalls. I didn't even realize the picture I had of it until I put it on my computer.

This is Waimea Canyon. You see such great detail when you see it by air.

                              The beautiful Na Pali Coast.

Inside the crater

Besides seeing the Na Pali Coast, this is the other reason for the helicopter ride. Getting to go inside Mt. Wai' ali' ali Crater.
This was at the back of the crater looking out.

One of the many waterfalls that just drop forever.

You find yourself just saying wow the whole entire time your flying.Going to Kaua'i without doing the helicopter ride would be like having Oreo's with no milk. Gotta do it!

After the helicopter ride we went to a shop called the Hawaiian Trading Post. It is one of the best places to get an authentic Ni'ihau shell necklace or lei. The making of the Ni'ihau shell necklaces and lei's are only made on the island of Ni'ihau by women who have been doing it since before Captain Cook landed in 1778. The intricate art of shell lei making is passed down from generation to generation.  The shells range in size from two-tenths to a half inch long and a shell lei can take several years to make. The shell lei's can sell for thousands of dollars but the Hawaiian Trading Post carries some of the beautiful necklaces that are considerably less. I found a beautiful necklace that I bought for myself as a remembrance of our trip. I do not like to bring things home that have "Made in China" stamped on the bottom, so I am always looking for something "Made in Hawaii". If you want a beautiful piece of Hawaiian history stop by the Trading Post and check it out. On our way back to the condo we stopped by Hilo Hattie's. You can not go to Hawaii without going to Hilo Hattie's. The place to get Hawaiian clothing. It was a spectacular day.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Adventures in Paradise......Day 3

So today was kinda a relaxing day. We got up and went to church in Lihue. For any friends interested, the church of Christ meets at 3164 Elua St. It is off Ahukini Road not to far from the airport. Wonderful group of friendly people. There phone number is (808) 245-2231 should you want to contact them for service times. After church we tried to find a place for breakfast. Breakfast is not easy to find on Kaua'i. Their are no Mimi's or IHOP's. We decided to drive up to Hanalei to a restaurant the guidebook had told us about.The Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant is right on the Hanalei River. The food was fabulous. I had fresh swordfish and  the Money Man had Ahi Tuna. Both were wonderful and the salads they served with them were huge. Lunch is a great time for this restaurant because the lunches are less expensive.
The Hanalei River-North

The Hanalei River-South

Lunch next to the river

If you want to try paddle boarding or kayaking, the Hanalei River is a great place to do that. We watched alot of people go by. I did not realize how many dogs loved to paddle board and kayak. One thing about the North side of Kaua'i that I noticed is that it looks like after the last Grateful Dead concert a lot of the Dead Heads settled here. There is a very eclectic group of people on the island. Julia Roberts, Pierce Brosnan and a couple other movie stars have homes there. A lot of retirees seemed to own property where we stayed. A small island with a lot of diversity.

After we had lunch we drove over to Hanalei Bay. It is a beautiful drive. One lane roads and bridges and the bay is stunning.

 One of the things you notice immediately when you arrive here is the chickens. There are more chickens than people and they are everywhere. Thank goodness at our condo they seemed to be scarce so we did not get woke up by them. They are very confused about when they are suppose to crow. City chickens! It was quite a funny thing to see 15 or 20 chickens in the grocery store parking lot. I couldn't get my camera out fast enough as we were driving by. Trust me it was funny.

They have no predators on the island except cats and cars and we didn't see a cat the whole time we were there. And from what we saw they move pretty fast away from cars. One of the locals told us they lovingly (tongue in cheek)call them the Kaua'i state bird.

After we had lunch, relaxed, watched the ocean and took a nap, we found the best ice cream we have ever eaten. It was in the guidebook as the best ice cream ever and it didn't lie. It's called Tropical Dreams and is made on the Big Island. Oh my goodness! It is amazing. The Macadamia Nut and the Dark Chocolate Cherry was incredible. Once we found it we went everyday. Right now it is in Kilauea but Dan and Dorthy will be moving the store to Kapa'a by the summer. Stop by and see them. Dan is Hawaiian friendly and loves to talk. Unfortunately, there is only one in the Mainland U.S. right now and that's in Salt Lake City. So if your going to Salt Lake City ya gotta go have Tropical Dreams ice cream. Dan did tell us they will be opening a store at the Ferry Building in San Francisco soon. It will be worth the drive when it does. I can't wait!!